student exits plane alongside skydiving instructor

From Rookie To Pro: How We Get You There

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Did you know that skydivers compete in competitions across the globe, battling to be the best? It takes a lot of hard work and determination to get to that level – and we’ve got all the resources you need to help you get there! Here are five steps to go from rookie to pro here at Skydive Paraclete XP.

Step 1: Your Very First Jump…

Every successful skydiving career started in the exact same place; the first jump!

Most people jumping for the first time do so as a tandem skydiver. This means they jump attached to an experienced instructor, who is responsible for the operation of all the equipment and giving you the best first-taste of skydiving they can!

After a short 20 minute brief, you’ll be ready to take to the skies. You’ll climb up to an exit altitude of around 13,500 feet in one of our jump planes before the door opens and you jump out into freefall. There, you’ll experience nothing but wide open skies and a feeling of exhilaration and awe like you’ve never felt before!first time tandem skydiving student in freefall

When your parachute opens, everything slows down. You’ll find a peacefulness that brings that racing heartbeat back down, giving you chance to take in the views and ponder what you’ve just done. That’s not to say the parachute ride isn’t exciting; our instructors are more than happy to throw in a few spirals for more of a roller coaster experience!

Find out about tandem skydiving here

Step 2: Earn Your Skydiving License

There’s an old saying that ‘when once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return…’

And it’s true! If you’re anything like us, that first taste of skydiving as a tandem jumper will give you the hunger to do it again and again!

You can go from knowing absolutely nothing about skydiving to being a fully licensed, fully qualified skydiver here at Skydive Paraclete. Our skydiving instructors are second to none in terms of ability, skills and their drive to help you be the best, so you really are in safe hands.

You’ll progress through a series of skydiving lessons, each one designed to teach you a new skill and to help you learn to fly your body, your parachute and to deal with any situation that could arise. By the end, you’ll be confident in your ability to jump solo and your skydiving license will mean you can jump at any USPA (United States Parachute Association) drop zone.

solo licensed skydiver in upright freefall position

Find out more about skydiving lessons here

Step 3: Find A Coach

Armed with your license and all of your basic skydiving skills, you’re ready to get a coach and learn some more advanced skills!

The first thing people usually do post-qualification is to find a formation skydiving (FS) coach. We have plenty of them here at Skydive Paraclete – just come to the office and we’ll hook you up!

An FS coach will teach you the different body positions you can use to move around the sky. You’ll learn to go forwards and backwards, fast and slow, turning and a move called ‘tracking’, which is essentially flying across the sky! They’ll teach you about ‘taking grips’ on other people and set you up to be able to try formation skydiving with your friends – which is all about building shapes in the sky by holding each other’s arms and legs.

group skydiving in formation

There are loads of disciplines within skydiving that you can learn once you have your license. There’s something for everyone! Speak to the instructors or your coach at the drop zone to find out more.

Step 4: Refine Your Freefall Skills

You know how, when you learn to drive, you don’t really learn to drive until you have your license and start driving alone?

It’s only through practice that you learn to refine your skills to fly your body more effectively and efficiently in the air.

This can be challenging, especially when every skydive is only around a minute of freefall time. It’s one incredible minute! But if you only fly in the sky, it’ll take awhile to get the reps that are needed to progress quickly.

Here at Skydive Paraclete XP, we’re super fortunate to have a wind tunnel just minutes down the road at our sister facility, Paraclete XP SkyVenture. Not many drop zones can say that, which is why we get so many skydiving teams and pros visiting us to train.

The wind tunnel is basically a skydiving simulator. It’s a large tube which we can fly in just as we do in freefall. People typically fly in 2 minute stints and will do maybe 30 minutes plus in one session – that’s 60 skydives worth of freefall! That means that we can progress much faster, using the wind tunnel as the place to learn and practice the skills we then take into the sky.

two experienced flyers practice bodyflight skills in wind tunnel

Find out more about our wind tunnel here

Step 5: Become A Skydiving Instructor

If you’ve loved learning to skydive and want to help other people do the same, this is for you!

While becoming a fully fledged skydiving instructor is a few years away at this point, you can get your first step on the ladder by becoming a skydiving coach.

Remember that FS coach we mentioned earlier? That can be you! The team here at Skydive Paraclete will help you to put together your lesson plans and talk you through the format we all use for teaching, so we keep things consistent. You’ll then have students you practice with, before we sign you off with your coach rating.

experienced jumpers after skydiving landing

Find out about upcoming coaching events here

And there you have it! Five steps to go from rookie to pro here at Skydive Paraclete XP. But don’t let these 5 steps dictate how you progress! Every skydiving journey is different; people progress at different paces and chart their own path. Whatever your goal, you can achieve it with us.

What are you waiting for? Start your journey by booking a skydive today!

The staff is incredible and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The drop zone gives you a breathtaking view and I will most definitely be back as soon as possible!

Sarah Elizabeth Keith